Our old friend with the Curious George T-Shirts might be in some trouble.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is considering legal action against a Georgia tavern owner selling T-shirts depicting presidential candidate Barack Obama as the Curious George monkey character.

In a statement, the Boston publisher, which owns the book rights to Curious George, said today the firm finds the T-shirt “offensive and utterly out of keeping with the values Curious George represents.”

The statement, issued by Houghton spokesman Richard Blake, added: “We are monitoring the situation and weighing our options with respect to possible legal action.”

This is the best part:

The tavern owner, who some have described as an “ultra-conservative,” has denied to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the T-shirt is racist.

No, never that. 

But let’s not think that our friend down in Marietta is the creative mastermind behind the highly original concept for those t-shirts. For that,  credit is due to a caller on our old buddy Rush Limbaugh’s radio show.

I don’t know how feasible a legal challenge to those shirts would be, given that Obama is a public figure and the shirt, while racist and in poor taste, counts as “satire”. I also hate the idea of this dude being a martyr, but we’ll see what happens. 

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